Replacing a damaged marlin fishing lure.


Go to any fishing tackle shop with a well-stocked gamefishing section and you’ll be dazzled by an array of lures rigged with vinyl octopus-style skirts in any colour you can imagine. Lure skirts are also made out of a variety of other materials and in the past imaginative anglers have used substances as diverse as inner tube rubber, wine cask bladders, bunting, teased nylon rope, bird feathers, even shower curtains. One product that has roared back into fashion is a vinyl-backed cloth called Naugahyde.

Skirts on marlin lures get damaged easily and will need to be replaced periodically, or after a single fish if it’s got wicked teeth. Sometimes you might not be happy with a colour combo on a fishing lure you bought, or wish to replicate the predominant baitfish in the area, which is easy enough to do if you have a bag of spare skirts.

Fishing lure skirts can be tied or glued on, with tying being the long-established approach.


Repairing marlin lures

You will need:

  • A lure head
  • Lure skirts to match, both in size and colour
  • Waxed thread
  • Scissors
  • Razor blade
  • Tarzan’s Grip glue

Step-by-step guide to fixing marlin lures

Cut the top off the squid shaped skirt at its widest point.

Fold the skirt back on itself. If it’s a tight fit on the collar, soak the skirt in some hot water to soften it, slather it in saliva, or give it a quick squirt with silicone spray. Whatever happens, we don’t want to tear the skirts on marlin lures by over-stretching them.

Carefully work the folded marlin lure skirt up onto the first collar, lining up any significant colours to match the tints/shading on the head.

4 Fold the skirt forward over the head. Using about a metre of waxed thread, leave a tail and bind tightly around the skirt three times, pulling it into the deepest part of the collar. Form a pull-through with the tail, and bind over this another three times. Slide the tag end into the pull-through, draw it under the binding and trim off the tags.

Trim off any excess skirt with a razor blade. A streamlined marlin lure skirt profile looks and performs better.

Follow the same steps with the second skirt.

7 Fold the marlin lure skirts back down and it’s good to fish again.

How to glue skirts on marlin lures

Purists believe that gluing skirts on your fish lure is the cheat’s way, but sometimes it’s necessary because the doubled-over skirt is too bulky for the lure head, creating an unattractive bulge behind it. Tarzan’s Grip is a good glue choice because it’s strong enough to hold the skirt in position, but can still be peeled off should it get damaged and need to be replaced.

As the head of the skirt won’t be doubled over, it may not be necessary to cut as high up.

Again, hot water, saliva, or silicone spray might be required to get the
skirt moving. Push the skirt up to the first collar.

Fold the skirt forward far enough to allow room on the collar for the glue.

Ease the second skirt on, fold it forward, apply the glue, and then fold it down. Do the same for the first skirt. Once the glue has set, you’re ready to hit the water.


Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #434, December 2012.